Nursing begins with a period of preceptor-ship, which is a transition phase designed to help newly registered nurses to further develop their practice. It covers fundamental competencies in patient care as well as broad skills in leadership, management, teaching and communication. A career as an adult nurse will suit you if you have a caring, practical nature and enjoy improving the quality of life of others around you
Adult nurses care for adult patients who are suffering from a variety of health conditions, ranging from minor injuries and ailments, to acute and long-term illnesses and diseases. They support recovery by using care plans, carrying out care procedures and assessments, and evaluating and focusing on the needs of the patient rather than the illness or condition.
Nurses usually work within a multidisciplinary team but are the main point of contact for patients, often providing the most continuity of care. They will have contact with the patients' families, particularly in cases of chronic illness where the patient may be returning regularly for treatment.
After successfully completing this, you can begin to progress through various different roles, including:
- senior staff nurse
- junior sister
- ward sister
- nurse practitioner
- nurse consultant.
All nurses have management roles, but some career paths are more management-orientated than others. As you become more senior, you may have less hands-on nursing responsibility.
Progression to roles such as ward sister, ward manager and team leader depends on the development of management skills and level of specialist knowledge. You may then progress either within a clinical specialism up to posts such as nurse consultant, or through further managerial responsibility as a matron and then up the executive ladder to a director of nursing post.
For more information on possible career pathways see the NHS Careers in nursing resource.
There are many specialist branches of adult nursing, and you can choose to undertake further training in order to specialise in an area of interest. Popular roles include:
- accident and emergency nurse
- cancer nurse
- district nurse
- intensive care nurse
- occupational health nurse
- practice nurse
- sexual health nurse
- specialist nurse.
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